Rimbu & Kozzmozz charging this year's Anode Stage

Since music festivals have become a widespread phenomenon, and many artists are playing the same countries several times a year, it takes more than just adding stages or headliners to attract people. Those who proved successful in the past, more often than not, have created a story with a consistent theme. They acknowledge the fact that many visitors enjoy being drawn into a mystical world, escaping daily life routines.

When it comes to techno music it’s not an easy exercise to add that extra sparkle without overdoing it as you don’t want to lose connection with the no-nonsense, stripped-down approach. Luckily the Transfo in Zwevegem has more than enough character to preserve the industrial feel and the right amount of potential to add some well-considered glitz.

As both the location and the name suggests, Voltage Festival has a strong link with electricity. The main element in the revival of the old power plant is the Anode Stage. At this outdoor stage, people literally dance underneath the electricity cables, giving them extra energy boosts. Just like last year, Kozzmozz and Rimbu, two heavyweights in the Belgian techno landscape, will electrify this area with some of the most in-demand techno acts around.

Kozzmozz - SAT 10/08

Introducing Kozzmozz

Kozzmozz – what’s in a name, right? Exactly: The supernatural world it embraces! Kozzmozz has always played with the mystical aspect of the cosmos. In the early days this was mainly visualised through posters and flyers but later on organisation started adding matching DJ booths and lights and other live visuals. Another strength of the Kozzmozz crew in building their extraterrestrial universe is the room they leave to the imagination about who’s really behind it. They prefer to talk about WHAT they stand for rather than WHO they are. All we know is they claim themselves to live on the yet undiscovered planet K and once in a while their spaceship lands on our planet earth to connect through techno beats.

When it comes to promoting techno music in Belgium, Kozzmozz can and should be seen as a true pioneer. When the organisation came to life, back in 1995, it was one of the only event series programming techno for a select audience of early adapters. Since then, their objective hasn’t changed: displaying the techno music and artists they admire. You take it or leave it. During 24 years and 147 events, clearly a lot of people have enjoyed the space gatherings and most of them are still hungry for more. Having built a strong reputation and fan base, Kozzmozz isn’t racking its brain too much on unique selling points except staying true to itself.

Nowadays the collective throws most of their parties at De Vooruit in Ghent, though sometimes expand to other spots in their hometown city, like the ArtCube and the Eskimo Factory. Furthermore, they also take their concept on tour from time to time, visiting Belgium’s biggest festivals during the summer.

Q&A with Spacid (Kozzmozz resident) and Mister M (founder)

What do you think of the booming festival-industry over the past 20 years in general?

We don’t really lose any sleep over it as only a few festivals have a similar musical taste. Voltage festival being one of the exceptions of course. In our opinion, Voltage festival does a great job in programming a wide variety of quality techno music and it’s a pleasure to be part of it. Once in a while, it’s refreshing to leave our spaceship to dance under the sun without losing focus.

Have you ever thought about launching your own Kozzmozz festival?

Long ago, in 2001 and 2002, we actually did organize our own festival in cooperation with Fuse club. At that time, the rock-minded festival Torhout / Werchter was ceasing to exist which we saw as the perfect opportunity to occupy the meadow in Werchter to make a statement and show the world that electronic music was here to stay. For 2 consecutive years, we organized ‘House Torhout’ at the site, pioneering work that we love. We had a great time but unfortunately had to stop after these 2 editions. It happened to be still too early as the scene was not yet developed enough. Organizing festivals is an expensive hobby that should not be underestimated…

Kozzmozz is also hosting a stage at Tomorrowland. How would you compare this to hosting a stage at Voltage Festival?

We have been a stage host at Tomorrowland from the very start when the festival consisted of only 3 stages yet. At that time, nobody believed in an open-air dance festival so again I dare to say we were pioneering. I’m sure everybody knows what an amazing fairytale Tomorrowland has become which for us as well makes it a real pleasure to return every year.

At this mass-event, with a wide variety of electronic music, we try to please the techno heads but also to attract those for who the genre is lesser-known. As always we present one of the most progressive line-ups of the festival with just recently this year: Linear Straight, 999999999, Fjaak Live, Headstrong, Tommy Four Seven & Dax J. Some of these acts will also play at Voltage festival both on our stage and on others.

Voltage festival, on the other hand, is easily as close to our hearts as it is a 100% techno festival. This, combined with the amazing location, immediately motivated us to become a part of it.

How will you be bringing the Kozzmozz vibe to Voltage festival?

The vibe is created by our people: techno connoisseurs from different generations with different backgrounds. They surely appreciate our line up and they know how to party together, better than anyone.

Name 1 artist that cannot be missed on the Kozzmozz stage at this year’s festival? Why’s that?

Over the years, we repeatedly invited Oscar Mulero and he nailed it every time. He’s an incredibly skilled DJ and exceptional selector. I’m sure he will be the perfect transition between Fjaak live and Ben Klock closing our stage. Then again, this last one’s wizardry must be witnessed at least once by every self-respected techno fan.

Rimbu - SUN 11/10

A long time ago, far deep down into the dense forest, something magical and rare took place. Out of every corner of the jungle, animals came together to dance together in harmony until dusk hit. Up until now, no one has been able to explain this mysterious behavior the animals, plants and every other organism wielded. One thing we know for sure is that a certain rhythm and frequency is needed in order to provide the creatures with a cadence. That’s when the phenomenon Rimbu rooted its foundations.

Rimbu, as a Ghent based event series, sprouted from the disordered brains of three nightcrawlers and bosom buddies: Anthony Vanlinthout, Bram De Pauw and Nino Vertongen. Like many promising ideas, it all started with lots of talking, a couple of beers and no plan. But a seed was planted! High on enthusiasm and driven by passion, they managed to mix their bizarreness together, resulting in the industrial techno concept as we know it today.

A DIY-minded storytelling concept with a rock & roll attitude and a no-nonsense approach that tries to differentiate itself by exceeding in atmosphere, decoration, intense visuals, spicy line-ups & mystic curiosities. For each edition, a colossal archaic creature is invited to host the night by steering the pack in its never-ending serotonin trip. In addition, the concept stands out from other techno concepts with its togetherness amongst the nocturnal beings all-round and with their never saturated hunger to create open mouth moments of astonishment among Rimbuists.

Rimbu has been accessible to the human species for 3 years now in which they organized 13 editions. All of these took place in Ghent’s Kompass Klub. The combination of the industrial location goes paw in paw with the music, decoration and all other Rimbu rarities and oddments.

Q&A with the Zookeepers behind Rimbu ( Nino Vertongen, Bram De Pauw & Anthony Vanlinthout)

Where does the name “Rimbu” come from?

In general, Rimbu stands for a jungle, wilderness. But there are lots of theories from which the term derives. There is a famous theory stating that the term Rimbu should derive from an ancient, mask-wearing tribe called Rimbuists. History is likely to show us they could communicate telepathically with other existing living organisms throughout sacred gatherings. Although nothing has been certainly proved so far.

What do you think of the booming festival-industry over the past 20 years in general?

Due to increasing pressure and competition during the festival season, a lot of them drop out eventually. It really demands the work of a Titan to build up a festival from scratch nowadays. This makes us even more humble and exciting to be part of something as promising as Voltage Festival.

How will you be topping last year’s success of Rimbu hosting the big Anode Stage?

Like last year, we carefully picked a swell set of fantasies out of an innumerous amount of ideas to transform the Anode stage into a surprising electric jungle. I don’t intend to dwell on this much more just yet, but Sunday at Voltage will be ‘Rimbu-guaranteed!’

Ever thought of bringing real animals to the spectacle?

Ever been to a Rimbu gathering? It’s a zoo full of the wildest and weirdest creatures imaginable, but oh-so beloved. High time to release your inner spirit animal!

How would you describe the part of the techno spectrum that Rimbu covers, to people that aren’t familiar with terms like ‘Industrial techno’?

Think of an electronic, hard mechanical beat, along with metal-like snares and clanking percussion, providing a grimy, dark and energetic ethos. We personally describe it as ‘Techno with a loose screw’.

‘Hardtechno’ is also commonly phrased to describe the genre however it’s a bit misplaced as this term rather designates the ‘Schranz-movement’, characterized by percussive sounds which are often compared to a full swing train. In the Industrial genre, aggressive noises and a lot of distortion are implemented in the funky, machinal rhythms of techno. The gap/border with hardcore becomes smaller and smaller.

Name 1 artist that cannot be missed on Rimbu stage at this year’s festival? Why’s that?

As the line up predicts, Rimbu x Voltage Festival is a match made in hell. It will be worth it to sweat around our stage for a while on Sunday. Nur Jaber may not sound familiar to everyone, but she sure is one to keep in mind!

- Interview & article by Simon Geleyn